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Monday, January 02, 2023

Comment of the Moment: Neil Young, Where Do We Go Now ... Again?

As you may recall, at the end of 2022, we posted on the subject of Where Do We Go Now?.

Essentially, this humble blog Thrashers Wheat has always been about the live concert experience with real time updates from fans around the world. With the various stipulations that Neil Young has made about performing publicly again,  there is serious debate on whether we've seen the last of "live" Neil. So, do we just pack it in and buy a pickup?

For an answer, on to our Comment of the Moment: Where Do We Go Now ... Again? by Minke:

I second the calls for serious discussion of NY’s output, utterances, biography (yes, that too), paraphernalia, influences etc. etc.

Here are my few cents.

I am a bookish person. A bit weird, but not really harmful. I don’t think other people should be like me. But it defines my outlook on life and the world. As many academics, I have an ambiguous relationship to rock writing. Most of it is too uncritical, breathtakingly descriptive, and basically scratching surfaces. On the other end of the spectrum, I have been looking for academic literature on Neil Young and discovered there is very little of it (as opposed to Bob Dylan or Miles Davis). I hear you thinking: why do we need academics to defile our hero, and you are perfectly right, we don’t, but still the absence is remarkable. The best writing on NY is journalist’s stuff, or some of the contributions on this site, and often somewhat lacking in biographical and intellectual analysis (that is: NY’s biography and intellect).

In my country of residence, the Netherlands, there is a famous 19th-century novel called Max Havelaar, which contains a funny episode in which the narrator rummages in a chest of paperwork bequeathed to him (you know this is 19th century novel stuff) and stumbles upon a sheer endless list of topics that the former owner of the chest wanted to write about. This list has turned into a Dutch expression, the Parcel of Shawlman. It contains a listing of the most outrageous and desultory topics.

Perhaps in the same vein as this obscure, almost Dickensian Shawlman, over the years I have been collecting thoughts about topics I would like to hear more about in things re: NY, and hardly could find anywhere. Most of those are not dealt with by Neil Youngs biographers, who mainly stick to the events and the music, the breakups and the breakdowns, and do not really venture into the world behind it. (Even though Jimmy Mcdonough’s book comes close; it is a classic and makes a compelling read.)

Although many here seem to be reluctant to discuss NY’s private life, I cannot understand how we should get a grip on his music and lyrics without a glance behind the front door. He is one of the most autobiographical songwriters around, so why shouldn’t we be able or allowed to respectfully discuss his life? F.i. I would say his not so recent change of partners has left a fairly deep imprint, so why not discuss that? I look forward to your positions on this matter.

So here we go, semi-sensically:

*Neil Young and books (did he ever mention reading a book or being inspired by it? In his home pictures I see many very old-fashioned furniture (see below under ‘taste’), but hardly any books. Still, he wrote a few himself, which not really betray a huge knowledge of composition and may be without model).
*Neil Young and politics (a tricky one).
*Neil Young and sex (o.k. we don’t know and we don’t want to know, but I find his references to sex somewhat muted. A fairly decent fellow, text-wise (“those magazines at night”). More beer than b**bs. Or rather, he refers little to his own arousal (“but she still gets me hot” is about the most explicit -- But look! the extra verse in Surfer Joe).
*Neil Young and God (who is accountable for this mess?).
*Neil Young as a farmer.
*Neil Young and race (he’s an old white guy after all, and so are most of his fans).
*Neil Young and rednecks (see above). Why is he attractive to the people I would want the least to be associated.
*Neil Young and (good) taste. No clues here.
*Neil Young and movies (well, here we have at least a few clues).
*Neil Young and humour (often fairly lame and herbed, as far as I can see, but some find it hilarious I guess).
*Neil Young and American Indians (or: Neil Young and cultural appropriation).
*Neil Young and male bonding (yes, I read Kim Gordon’s excellent “Girl in a band” recently).
*Neil Young and rationality (just curious).
*Neil Young and Asia (Pearl Jam is widely famous in Asia. Why did NY never play beyond Japan and Hong Kong?).
*Neil Young and art (he raised an artist, so how?).
*Neil Young and sports.
*Neil Young as an admirer (which is so much part of his character).
*Neil Young and maj7 harmonies.
*Neil Young and capitalism (/big business/big businessmen) (just asking).
*Neil Young and (post)coloniality (conquest is a romantic but ambivalent trope: TransAm, Cortez).
*Neil Young and not-4/4 beat.
*Neil Young and food (raw stringbeans ?).
*Neil Young and handwriting.
Etc etc

Other requests?

Not: cars, dogs, Elvis, carbon fuel, drugs, vaccines, Orangeman (except under: capitalism).
So if there is a future biographer lurking here: have a go at it. There is a voracious consumer here.

Cheers to all. Have a nice year’s end.

Many thanks here for all the great topic suggestions Minke.

That'll keep the rustie grains communities busy for awhile. Any volunteers who would like to answer the call, email us at:

thrasher ATSIGN

(Be sure to check your SPAM folder. See  )

So have a Happy New Year to all!

Where Do We Go Now ... 
or Where Did We Go From There?  
Charles Theater, Baltimore, MD
December 2012

(Note: Photo not Photoshopped)

Labels: ,


At 1/02/2023 01:06:00 PM, Blogger Alan said...

Neil Young Concerts have been captured via audio & video recordings. This is a Time Machine of the live music experience.
As fans in the modern NYA era, we are invited to relive and enjoy live performances from our hero, the Artist.
Hear me out on this: A lack of new live performances is almost irrelevant, depending on one’s perspective. The live shows exist. Let’s enjoy them and discuss. They are vital whether they were recorded in 1973, or 2013.

Easy for me to say, “Thrasher, you should continue with this vital blog.” Could even make past live shows the
Focus of discussion. But there is so much happening in the NY U (universe) that we have much to discuss, enjoy, & celebrate.

IMHO, TW is great whether Neil tours or not.

Your brother, and “Brother” to all people, (& critters, & trees)…. Alan in Seattle

At 1/03/2023 07:13:00 AM, Blogger Flyingscotzman said...

Good morning, and wishing a very happy New Year to all here at Thrasher's.

And, hopefully with Thrasher's blessings, I'd like to tell you about a couple of new developments in Scotzman-land.

Firstly, I have a new twitter account.

It is literally brand new — so I haven't shared anything at all yet. Maybe I won't share anything. But if you are on twitter, come over and get me to follow you! Find me at:

Now, onto the second development.

I have a new page for sharing more of my music-themed writing.

To be clear: This will not change my contributions here are Thrasher's Wheat *at all*. This will be extra stuff. (And I'll be linking to Thrasher's Wheat regularly, of course).

Most of it will be entirely free to access — but there are subscription options if you would like to support me and get exclusive access to extra content.

Maybe you already know that I spend most of my day writing, and not about music. That's my job. The result? I'm having less and less time to spend writing about what I really enjoy, which is unfortunate.

So this is a new platform for me that will hopefully bring you a lot of interesting stuff, whilst being just a little more sustainable for me.

There will be lots of free content. If you can subscribe, brilliant! If you can help me promote the page... or share the links from time to time on social media... or tell a friend... then that's equally brilliant.

And if you do want to follow my work, thank you. I promise I'll do my best to make it entertaining and interesting — as always!

You can discover more here:

Thanks for taking the time to read,


At 1/03/2023 07:26:00 AM, Blogger Dionys said...

Thanks for reminding me of all these cosmic gearboxes and octave dividers down in the basement. I wish you all the best (many readers and patrons) for your new site. I'll check there from now on. And a happy New Year to all, of course.

At 1/03/2023 08:25:00 AM, Blogger Flyingscotzman said...

Dionys: thank you very much, it'll be good to see you there.

(Good to discover a fellow octave divider fan, too!)

I really appreciate your kind words, thank you.

Happy new year to you!


At 1/03/2023 09:43:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Scotsman - sounds like an excellent New Year's resolution.

Looking fwd to your musings in 23. Best of luck! Keep us posted on how Patreon works out. Patreon is something we've considered along w/ SubStack so any feedback would be appreciated.

At 1/03/2023 02:06:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

Good luck to you Scotsman. I’m not involved with Twitter or Facebook, or any other social media platforms except Thrashers Wheat and Steve Hoffman. But you will definitely be successful with this project, and I look forward to reading whatever you choose to share here on the Wheat. You’re an outstanding writer with so much knowledge, you deserve success in anything you choose to pursue. Good luck, and don’t hesitate to share your thoughts with us here whenever you have the time.

Peace 🙏

At 1/03/2023 05:43:00 PM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

Scotsman, I think Dan said it all very well. Your writing is brilliant and always insightful. I am not on any social media either and only visit TW and some of my research networks, but maybe I will venture out!!

At 1/03/2023 06:33:00 PM, Blogger Flyingscotzman said...

Thanks my friends for your extremely kind comments, I appreciate it a lot.

Re: social media. I jettisoned Facebook years ago and have been happier ever since. Jury is still out on Twitter.

The Patreon page will just be like another blog, except some stuff will be for subscribers only. Will give it my best shot for a while and see how it goes.

And I'll still be here, too, of course!

Thanks again for your kindness.


At 1/04/2023 02:01:00 PM, Blogger Flyingscotzman said...

For those interested in a taste of what I'm doing over at Patreon, here's my new extended review of the latest Timeline concert, Cal Expo '96:

(It's free to read, and with a link back to the relevant page at Thrasher's Wheat, of course).



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